Since his election on March 13th 2013 Pope Francis hasn’t spent the time simply in adjustment as he has given interviews, traveled, and offered advice to world leaders, yet many don’t know much about him. Here are the top ten things most don’t know about Pope Francis.
10. If not for the events leading up to World II, Pope Francis could have been born in Italy. Instead the current pope was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires. His sister Maria Elena has related to the media that their father was “pushed” to leave Italy by the advent of fascism. Otherwise Francis born on December 17th 1936 would have been born in parent’s own home country.
9. He almost didn’t become a priest. While studying as a novice with the Society of Jesus he met a young woman at his uncle’s wedding. He was so taken with this girl he questioned his commitment, but in the end he decided his calling was true. No one knows if the young woman he met is aware of how close she came to changing the history of the Catholic Church.
8. While some in the church have claimed Pope Francis is a “liberal”, he’s also faced critics about his supposed conservative actions.
7. As Cardinal Bergolglio he was known for his commitment to social justice, but remained doctrinal conservative.
6. Just he lived simply as a priest, he was known for his frugal ways throughout the years leading up to becoming the successor of Pope Benedict. Instead of living in Bishop’s residence in suburban Olivos for example he opted to take public transportation, maintain his own small apartment, and even cooked his own meals.
5. Pope Francis is known for a devotion to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. She is also known as The Little Flower of Jesus.
4. Leaders of the Islamic community in his home of Buenos Aires were happy to hear about the election of Pope Francis as he is remembered there as being “pro-dialogue”.
3. He declined to wear the Papal cape after his election, and to this date hasn’t been seen in public wearing the lavish cape.
2. Pope Francis is conversant in several languages including Latin, French, Portuguese, German, English and Ukrainian. He is fluent in Italian, but he’s told the media he’s “most comfortable with Spanish.”
1. The former pope Benedict related to reporters that after witnessing the “charisma” of his successor he has a greater understanding of the “mystical experience” that lead him to becoming the first pope in 600 years to retire. Benedict remarked that his stepping down and making way for the election of Pope Francis was the “will of God”.